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What is ChatGPT and why teachers are concerned about its technology

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Posted at 12:19 PM, Jan 11, 2023

A new artificial intelligence tool restricted by one big school district is raising questions about the future of AI in education.

ChatGPT can generate paragraphs of human-like text for free to anyone with an internet connection.

“It's very much coming up with original content,” said Kendall Hartley, associate professor of educational training at UNLV. “So when I run it through the services that I use for plagiarism detection, it shows up as a zero. I've never had a paper run through that shows up as a 0% match, right? So even, you know, a typical one's gonna be in the 10% range or something on those lines, just because people are reading other articles, and they're citing it.”

He says ChatGPT adds to the list of challenges teachers have been facing over the last few years.

The New York City Department of Education said it's restricting access to the tool on school networks and devices because it's worried about negative impacts on student learning.

It's also concerned about the safety and accuracy of the content. The creators of the technology say they're also looking for ways to detect misuse.

But Hartley says this restriction is just a bandage.

“It's another good indication that time spent with discussing academic integrity, academic honesty,” he said. “And what does that mean? What does that look like? Maybe a better use of time rather than trying to ban certain things or ban certain technologies.”

He says teachers can also focus on the types of lessons they assign.